Nieuw Leyden

Two striking ecological homes showcase the beauty of timber, forming part of a substantial new town development.

About this project

A 16-acre former industrial site was transformed to deliver 670 new homes in Nieuw Leyden, a new town development near Leiden, Netherlands. Dutch architects MVRDV delivered the masterplan for the area, consisting of both high-rise buildings and individual family homes, many of which were built by their owners. 24H architecture designed two such individual homes, which formed part of a block of 18 houses by different architects.

Use of timber

The striking facade combines organically shaped corten steel together with FSC certified sucupira amarela wood cladding. All the exterior doors and window frames are made from FSC certified jatoba wood.

Inside, the architects chose bamboo parquet for the flooring and bamboo for the internal window and door frames. The decking used on the exterior terraces is made from compressed bamboo.

Varied designs for contemporary living

The houses benefit from a half sunken parking garage which is situated in the centre of the block. This gives the houses a split-level arrangement, resulting in a high-density area with narrow car free streets.

Due to the minimal design restrictions regarding floor heights, shape and architectural appearance of the individual houses, the homes are varied in shape and style, reminiscent of the historical city centre of Leiden but with a contemporary feel.

Maximising daylight

As the 18 houses in the block are organized according to a ‘back-to-back’ principle, it was necessary to maximise daylight into the homes. To achieve this aim, a so-called 'canyon' was introduced to provide inhabitants with maximum daylight during the day. The canyon flows vertically through the house and encloses the stairs. It is orientated to enable daylight to penetrate all the way down to the lower floors.

The walls of the canyon help to divide the house into the necessary functional spaces. Where possible, the canyon walls are transparent to allow daylight through and where necessary, the walls are closed to allow for privacy.

Energy efficiency

Energy use is minimized in several ways. In addition to the compact building block and maximum use of daylight, a solar water heating system is used in combination with district heating. Together with insulated HR++ glass and highly insulated walls, this results in an overall energy performance which far exceeds the requirements of Dutch building regulations.

More information

Natrufied; MVRDV

ArchDaily - images and plans

Photography: Boris Zeisser 

More information on how to source tropical hardwood from sustainably managed sources here.

Key contacts




Natrufied; 24HMVRDV

Timber Supplier


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